The Bears' 2022 schedule was released Thursday, and Chicago has one of the easier roads in the NFL.
Chicago will face five teams that just selected in the top 10 of the 2022 NFL Draft, including two tilts against the Detroit Lions and No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson.
The 2022 campaign will be all about the development of Justin Fields and how head coach Matt Eberflus fares in Year 1 of his tenure.
Here are my game-by-game predictions for the 2022 Bears.
Week 1: vs. San Francisco 49ers
After a turbulent offseason, the 49ers finally take the field, presumably with Trey Lance under center.
Last season, Lance showed promise in spot starts, but he is far from a finished product. The 49ers dealt with a lot of drama in the months following their NFC Championship Game loss, and it won't get much better to open the 2022 season.
With Jimmy Garoppolo watching from the sidelines, Lance turns the ball over twice while Fields accounts for three touchdowns to open the Eberflus-Poles era with a win.
There's an inexplicable Week 1 upset every season. This year's version happens at Soldier Field.
Bears 24, 49ers 20
Week 2: at Green Bay Packers
It's too early in the season for the Bears to spring an upset of this magnitude. Green Bay's defense frustrates the Bears' offense, and Aaron Rodgers does what Aaron Rodgers does against the Bears.
Packers 28, Bears 17
Week 3: vs. Houston Texans
Fans are down on the Bears' roster, but the empty cupboard in Houston is much, much worse. Outside of their 2022 draft class, Laremy Tunsil and potentially Davis Mills, the Texans don't have any players who are locks to be there in 2023.
The Bears have an excellent opportunity to pick up an early-season win after losing to the Packers. Fields throws for 300 yards and the Bears cruise to an easy win.
Bears 27, Texans 17
Week 4: at New York Giants
Speaking of lousy roster situations, have you looked at what the Giants plan to trot out in 2022? I believe in Brian Daboll, but that offense will be an eyesore this season, with a ton of expected turnover in 2023.
In what could be an ugly affair at the Meadowlands, Justin Fields is the difference as the Bears move to a surprising 3-1.
Bears 20, Giants 13
Week 5: at Minnesota Vikings
The Kirk Cousins jokes write themselves, but the Vikings still have too much offensive firepower for the Bears. Justin Jefferson has a big game, and the winning streak ends at two.
Vikings 31, Bears 17
Week 6: vs. Washington Commanders
It's a typical, sloppy Thursday night game. Both offenses are stuck in neutral in the first half, but a Jaylon Johnson pick-six of Carson Wentz gives the Bears a second-half spark. Justin Fields does the rest, going 10-for-13 for 178 yards and a touchdown after halftime to give the Bears a much-needed win.
Bears 24, Commanders 13
Week 7: at New England Patriots
Bill Belichick is a master at game planning for young quarterbacks, and this is no exception. The Patriots intercept Fields twice, and Mac Jones hits DeVante Parker for the game-winning, 11-yard touchdown with 1:53 remaining to send the Bears home empty-handed.
Patriots 23, Bears 16
Week 8: vs. Dallas Cowboys
Eberflus and Alan Williams stifle the Cowboys' rushing attack but have no answer for Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb. Lamb catches eight passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns in the victory at Jerry World. Fields has a good day (285 total yards, two touchdowns) but is sacked on fourth-and-6 late to seal the Bears' fate.
Cowboys 27, Bears 20
Week 9: vs. Miami Dolphins
Where will the Dolphins be after eight weeks? Miami could be gearing up for a playoff run or planning for life post-Tua if things are already sideways.
The Bears muck up the game and give the Dolphins a good fight, but Miami's defense stymies Justin Fields, and Tagovailoa does just enough to leave Chicago with a win.
Dolphins 20, Bears 13
Week 10: vs. Detroit Lions
A three-game slide ends as the Bears pick off Jared Goff three times and David Montgomery rushes for 135 yards and two scores.
Bears 24, Lions 16
Week 11: at Atlanta Falcons
Oh, look, another team on the ground floor of a rebuild.
The Falcons have offensive talent in Kyle Pitts, Drake London, and Cordarrelle Patterson, but who will be the trigger man? Marcus Mariota could give the Bears some trouble, but Desmond Ridder might be the man at this point in the season.
The Bears win a rock fight at the Big Body Benz. It won't be pretty.
Bears 17, Falcons 13
Week 12: at New York Jets
I've seen enough football to know that a late-season matinee against the Jets is as trappy as they come. Unfortunately, the Bears won't be immune.
Zach Wilson rips up the Bears' defense, and one of the winnable games goes up in smoke.
Jets 27, Bears 17
Week 13: vs. Green Bay Packers
Fresh off a disappointing loss to the Jets, the Bears return home and put up a fight against the Packers but can't finish off the upset. They head into the bye week at 6-7 with not many winnable games left on the schedule.
Packers 30, Bears 20
Week 14: Bye
The Bears get a late bye week but are the beneficiaries of a mini-bye week between Weeks 6 and 7, going from a Thursday night contest to a Monday night tilt. That should help them deal with 13 straight weeks of football.
Week 15: vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The bye week doesn't help the Bears right the ship as Jalen Hurts stunts on Eberflus' defense to hand Chicago a third-straight loss.
Eagles 28, Bears 20
Week 16: vs. Buffalo Bills
A Dec. 24 game against Josh Allen and arguably the best team in the AFC isn't the present the Bears wanted to find under the tree.
The Bills are in a different class than the rebuilding Bears. So this one might get ugly.
Bills 33, Bears 16
Week 17: at Detroit Lions
The month-long losing streak comes to an end in the Motor City as Justin Fields puts together the best game of his season in a decisive win.
Bears 31, Lions 13
Week 18: vs. Minnesota Vikings
The Bears stumble to the finish line against the Vikings. Dalvin Cook rushes for 155 yards and two touchdowns as the Bears finish the season at 7-10.
Vikings 28, Bears 19